YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: CHRISTIAN RENEWAL THROUGH LOVE AND PERSEVERANCE IN HARDSHIP.
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi.
HOMILY: GOSPEL: JOHN 13:31-33A, 34-35
My dearest brothers and sisters you are welcome to the 5th Sunday of Easter. On this Sunday Christ reminds us that our real identity as Christians and disciples of Christ lies in our keeping the commandment of love and in perseverance in suffering. Through this, God renews the church and His people and dwells in their midst.
In the first reading of today, Paul and Barnabas through their missionary work embarked on renewing mission that focused on making disciples, strengthening them, appointing elders to oversee the growth of the seed of faith sown in these new disciples and above all commending them to God through prayers and fasting. Worthy of mention in the missionary apostolate of Paul and Barnabas is what I may call the truth of being a disciple. This truth was stated in these lines: … and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. ”
This exhautation to endure hardships for the sake of heaven would make Paul and Barnabas unpopular and unable to make any disciple in our modern society where people are impatient and uninterested in hearing anything about “hardship”. In our world where many pastors are preaching success, prosperity and breakthrough, this exhortation of Paul and Barnabas to the disciples of the early church becomes a timely reminder to us all that it is a matter of necessity (not just of accidence) to endure hardships to make heaven. No matter what kind of hardship you are faced with, be rest assured that God who promises to renew all things will never fail to reward your perseverance in hardship. Through perseverance, your interior life is renewed and God dwells within you to strengthen you.
The second reading from the Book of Revelation, explains how God renews His Church, the New Jerusalem, by being present in her members and in their parish communities and liturgical celebrations. “See, I am making all things new.” The presence of God renews His church and His people.The Gospel explains what we must do to keep God’s renewing presence alive in our midst.
Today’s Gospel passage gives us the secret of Christian renewal as the faithful practice of Jesus’ new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:35). Jesus has added a new element to the Old Testament command of love by teaching us that the true test of discipleship is to love other people in the same way that he has loved us, with sacrificial, unconditional, agápe love. Hence, the renewal of Christian life means a radical change of vision and a reordering of our priorities in life . Such a renewal brings us to embrace new attitudes( being friendly, caring and compassionate), new values( truthfullness, honesty ) and new standards of relating to God, to other people and, indeed, to our whole environment.
Let us love others in our daily lives: We are asked to love as Jesus loved, in the ordinary course of our lives. We love others by responding to their everyday needs with love and compassion. We love others by comforting and protecting those who have experienced loss. We love others by serving others in every possible way no matter how small, seeing the face of Jesus in them. We love others by forgiving rather than condemning, by challenging rather than condoning. Finally, we love others by sacrificially sharing our time, talents and blessings with them.
Let us demonstrate our love for others in our gatherings and parish assemblies: When we are assembled as a family, religious or social community, we have an opportunity to demonstrate our love for one another. People must see Christians as people who interact with a love and concern for one another that reveals their strong love and appreciation for each other. They should see in us a quickness to appreciate and readiness to forgive
May God renew innermost beings and transform the spirit of hatred and wickedness that has blinded our love for others and make us true disciples and children of a loving and forgiving God.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers
Fr. Clem C. Aladi.